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Secrets of the Asylum Ch. 6 Part 1

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File Case 6: Flames, Games, and Leg Pains (Nov. 16, 2009)

The fire burned brightly, illuminating the night and tearing at the car that it had originated from. The fire devoured the car greedily. It would have continued destroying the car, if firemen hadn’t come and put out the fire.

That was when the man who owned the burnt skeleton that had once been a car stomped his foot, enraged, and shouted. “My car, it’s ruined!”

One of the firefighters heard the next thing that the man said, but it was so quietly said that the firefighter wasn’t sure that he had heard correctly. “I know who did this.”
***

Twelve weeks after the incident with the fire, Jake was working at his crime solving skills under Nick’s instruction as he often did on days when they didn’t have a case.

“So if I found a lighter, but couldn’t find fingerprints on the outside what would I do next?” Nick asked.

After a moment of thought Jake reached a conclusion. “Lighters are made in factories, by machine, therefore it wouldn’t have anything interesting on the inside, however you might get a print off of the area of the wheel on the lighter that springs back to face the inside of the lighter once it is let go.”

Nick congratulated Jake. “If you had been on that case two years ago you would have solved the case. Now here’s one that Ralph worked on. So a man walked into a bar, someone in the bar hit the man and a bar fight immediately ensued…”

As Nick began explaining the scenario someone knocked on Nick’s apartment’s door. Nick got up to answer it, in the hopes that it would be a case, preferably with a lot of money involved.

“Hello, are you Nick Hanson?” the man at the door asked.

“Yes,” Nick replied slowly. “What is your name?”

“My name is Alex Gong,” the short Asian man at the door responded curtly. “I’ve come to hire you and Jake Hawk.”

“Well then come I have some coffee if you want to talk about it here,” Nick said.

“Thank you.”

Once Alex was seated comfortably in an armchair that dwarfed him, he began telling his story. “It started six weeks ago, when I beat my next door neighbor, Mac Louis, in a videogame tournament. That’s pretty normal, it seems that my neighbor and I keep facing off in videogame tournaments, however this time it was a much larger amount of money than usual, so after I beat Mac, he accused me of cheating. It probably also didn’t help that I had a party the next day, to taunt him, which probably contributed to the reason that he burned my car that night. I would go to the police, but they say that it was one of my cigarettes on the floor that started the fire and that Mac couldn’t have done it, because a group of people saw his character moving around in Halo during the whole time that my car was being burned.”

At the conclusion of Alex’s story Jake asked the truly essential question. “Did you actually see your neighbor do it?”

“No, but I know it was him, he was really angry at me last time that I saw him and I never leave my cigarettes out of an ashtray,” Alex explained.

“In my experience I have discovered that the best thing for the victim to do on these occasions is to stay as far away from the accused as possible,” Nick stated. “In the meantime Jake and I will split up to investigate all the evidence.”
***

I like how Nick thinks, Jake thought to himself, he knows that I’m good at asking questions, so he gives me a lot of the questionings.

As Jake approached the front, black door of a house, a brown cat with amber eyes jumped in front of Jake and started to rub himself up against Nick’s legs.

Jake may have liked his job in that moment, but if he had liked his job a few seconds later then some would argue that he had lost his sanity, because in another second the black door that Jake was standing in front of was opened and he found himself looking down into the eyes of Mac Louis.

“If you’re another one of those cops trying to nail me with the vaguest of little imaginary details and use them to sue me, so that the slob over there gets the money back for the car that his cigarette destroyed, then you should get off my lawn before I have Tiger shred all of the skin off your leg!” Mac shouted, infuriated.

Ordinarily Jake would have been cowed by the verbal assault, but the threat was diminished by the fact that Mac shouted his entire rant from his wheelchair.

Jake immediately realized that Mac had a nearly perfect, if not perfect alibi, because Jake had seen Mac’s driveway. It was very steep and there was no chance that the thin figure in front of him could roll a wheelchair up it.

However despite these revelations Jake had gained some vital information that he could use against Mac. That information was that Mac was very impatient and angry, so Jake just stood there for a few seconds letting the awkward silence continue for those seconds.

“Come in,” Mac grunted grudgingly. “If you’re lying to me I will make sure that you get put in jail. Believe me, I can, I’ve got plenty of friends that are involved in the legal system.”

All of this time Tiger, the cat, had started to hiss menacingly. “Tiger play with this,” Mac said, producing a rubber mouse on a string from underneath his wheelchair. Mac let Tiger bat playfully at the mouse for a few seconds, then Mac released it so that he could lead the way into his house.

For a moment Jake smiled looking at the playful little cat, but those feelings disappeared as he stepped into Mac’s house.

The house was incredibly dark and felt like stepping into an abyss. Despite the fact that the day was fairly sunny for a fall day the curtains had been left neglected and looked like they had never been moved from their closed position. As Jake’s eyes continued to flick across the room he saw a T.V. in the corner that seemed to be the only source of light. However the darkness wasn’t the only thing that made the room grim, things in the room were broken and discarded. There was a keyboard with scratches all over it, the fan moved slowly and evenly for three quarters of its rotation, but then it jerked quickly the rest of the rotation and all the chairs had long, deep scratches all over them.

“So it’s my neighbor that hired you wasn’t it?” Mac said as more of a statement than a question.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to say who hired me,” Jake replied calmly.

“If there’s one guy worse than the cops it is Alex Gong. Every other day he has a party and every party he takes his car and puts it in front of my driveway, always his car, never anyone else’s, so then I can’t get out, and the rest of the night he blast the worst kind of techno junk from those huge speakers that he has,” Mac growled bitterly.

“You’re such a pleasant person,” Jake replied sarcastically, even though he didn’t usually stoop to the level of throwing obvious insults in someone’s face, but he was really starting to dislike Mac.

“If there are two things I specialize at they’re videogames and being unpleasant,” Mac replied honestly.

“Perhaps you’re unpleasant enough to burn the car which you obviously hate with so much passion,” Jake retorted smoothly.

“No.”
***

Nick was coming down the street in his car, with the intention of asking what Jake had found. It didn’t take long for Nick to spot Jake’s motorcycle and Jake on it. Nick pulled over stopped his car and got out to talk to Jake.

“What did you find?” Nick asked.

After Jake recounted what he had found Nick began relaying his information. “I went to the police station and found the file of this case. I found out that he lost the use of his legs in a terrible hit and run car accident, that particular case is still open, but it’s at a dead end, all that Mac remembered was the license plate, CANUDANC. Obviously now Mac can’t dance, but the question is can he get up that slope, which is why I asked Tim to let me borrow his grandmother’s wheelchair while she’s bedridden.”

“His muscles are small, even if I make it up the slope there’s no way that he would have made it up,” Jake protested.

Nick smiled as he looked upon the comical sight. “Well originally I had planned to try it out myself but fine you can try it if you want to volunteer.”

The following test only served to prove Jake right and Nick wrong. Even though Jake was happy to be right, which didn’t happen a lot whenever he disagreed with Nick, Jake was still unhappy to serve the role of Nick’s test dummy and he was especially unhappy to serve as Nick’s test dummy who strained in a wheel chair to get halfway up a driveway, all the while getting odd looks from the neighbors, only to fly back down the driveway. Of course Jake knew that he would probably laugh about it later, but that didn’t mean that he had to laugh about it now.

“Beautiful alibi, it’s so simple, and it only fits into his category of people. Actually two beautiful alibis, don’t forget the Halo alibi,” Nick commented.

Jake agreed. “I wish that Mac was guilty, but his alibis are too perfect to be false.”

Nick’s eyes brightened as he continued jokingly. “So we should boldly go where no normal man has gone before, we’ll go to the local Gamers’ Convention.”
***

Of course who’s to say what is normal, in such a diverse world that is being ever more greatly populated by humans, who are constantly changing the styles, and fashions based upon their own opinions. However when you hear a conversation like the following you should be able to guess that the speakers are a minority.

“Well obviously Samus would be Master Chief, I mean, come on everyone knows that it’s all about the rockets, and you know who has more rockets, Samus, Master Chief just gets two rockets on the rare occasions that he does get a chance to pick up a rocket launcher.”

“Yeah right, let’s be realistic about this, a sniper rifle beats everything, Master Chief would use a sniper rifle to shoot Samus before she even sees him coming.”

“Nonsense, Samus could easily curl up into a ball, and then she’s protected on all sides.”

“So, Master Chief always has a shield, so that he’s able to be protected on all sides, and still use his weapons.”

“Are you sure that this is the place,” Jake asked Nick after listening to a little bit of the conversations going on in the videogame convention.

“Tim told me that one of the people who witnessed Mac in cyberspace is here today,” Nick said. “I trust Tim, the only thing that makes me doubt his word is that Tim was told by Zach, who was in turn told by one of his friends.”

“Okay we can look around, but who are we looking for?” Jake asked.

“We’re looking for a man named Jackie Moore, but he prefers to be called Jackie M.” Nick replied.
***

At that same moment a different person was looking for something altogether different. Ralph was searching, always searching and planning. Finally Ralph found what he had hoped to find…a person.

Ralph had been looking through the backyard of the asylum for weeks, in search of someone that he could trade with.

Ralph had first noticed Mathew when he heard a loud and piercing squeak of shoes behind him. He pivoted to see the owner of the squeaky shoes and saw that the fully grown man behind him was tightly clutching a bag of action figures.

The first words that Mathew said to Ralph was, “if you touch my toys then I’ll break your toys.”

Ralph was used to absurd statements so he didn’t show any surprise, or for that matter he didn’t have any surprise. “I don’t have any toys here.”

Mathew laughed as though Ralph had just said something stupid. “Everything is a toy. We’re all getting played with. As soon as they let me out of here then I’ll play with all the toys, but I will break the bad toys. That’s there excuse for putting me here. What about you.”


Ralph saw the opportunity to create a friendship that he would profit from. “They put me here because…”





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